How Property Taxes Work

Property taxes are complicated and confusing.

 

A significant amount of confusion comes from the fact that your most recent tax bill was determined over a year ago.  By the time you get your bill, it is too late to do anything except feel frustrated, get angry, and complain. However, it doesn't have to be this way.

The Iowa Department of Revenue lists 22 steps in the 18-month property tax cycle. To simplify, ITR has identified five property tax pain points and one essential action item:

1. September 31, 2021

The first half of 2020's property taxes are due.

TAKE ACTION: Look at your community's information and start a conversation with the people who set your tax bill.

2. November 2, 2021

City Council and School Board elections

TAKE ACTION: Get out and vote! The best taxpayer protection is winning elections.

(County Supervisor elections will be November 8, 2022)

3. December 1, 2021, through February 28, 2022

Local taxing authorities (schools, cities, and counties) create budgets and determine how much they will spend which, in turn, makes the property tax rate and ultimately your tax bill.

TAKE ACTION: This is when you can change your future property tax bill!

Look at your community's information and send a message to your local elected officials asking them to justify their decision to increase government spending and your taxes.

4. March 31, 2022

The second half of 2020's property taxes are due.

TAKE ACTION: Look at your community's information and start a conversation with the people who set your tax bill.

5. August 2022

Property owners will receive tax statements in August. When you get your bill, TURN IT OVER to see the taxing authorities who created your bill, the amount they taxed you, and how much their budget grew from the previous year.

TAKE ACTION: Look at your community's information and start a conversation with the people who set your tax bill.

6. April 2023

Taxpayers receive their property's assessment every two years, in odd-numbered years (2021, 2023, 2025...). Remember, local government spending determines your tax bill. Assessments are just part of the formula. It is possible for your property's assessment to increase and your property tax bill to stay the same or even decrease.

TAKE ACTION: Go to itrlocal.org to easily send a message to your local elected officials. If your assessment increased, let them know you expect them to control spending and lower your property tax rate, not just keep the same rate and ride the wave of growing assessments.

Remember, it's easy for elected officials to spend more and tax more when taxpayers quietly pay the bill.

Speak up and be heard!

Go to itrlocal.org, look at your community property tax history, and use our one-click button to easily send a message to your school board, city council, or county supervisors.

 

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